The Godfather

on March 27, 1972 by BOXOFFICE Staff
   Paramount Pictures, having previously made cinematic history with "Love Story," very easily will top that with the release of Mario Puzo's bestseller as adapted to the screen by Puzo and director Francis Ford Coppola. With advance guarantees equal to twice the cost of the film, the company made the unprecedented move of world premiering the Albert S. Ruddy production in five Manhattan theatres. Aside from being unquestionably a top grosser, the film gives Marlon Brando his best role in a decade. The Academy Award winner has had an unusually long string of indifferent films, that jinx being broken here. In concert with Brando's emoting, top honors go to a fine trio of young actors: Al Pacino, James Caan and Robert Duvall, as well as to Richard Castellano as a comic killer. While there have been changes from the novel, the film is both compelling and powerful. The violence entirely merits an R, and more sensitive stomachs will take offense. Technicolor-filmed in and around New York City, "The Godfather" has faithfully captured the post-war era. Coppola has given great insight into the inner workings of the Mafia (here called the family or the syndicate) and the particular code of its members. "The Godfather" means business.

In 1945 New York, Talia Shire, the daughter of syndicate chieftain Marlon Brando marries Gianni Russo. During the ceremony, Brando tends to business which includes the future welfare of godson Al Martino, a singer. Brando's adopted son Robert Duvall, a lawyer, sees to it that movie producer John Marley cooperates. When Brando is wounded in a clash with rival "families," youngest son Al Pacino takes a hand. He kills rival Al Lettieri and crooked police Capt. Sterling Hayden, then hides in Sicily. After beating up Russo for abusing Shire, brother James Caan is murdered. Pacino's young wife Simonetta Stefanelli is also killed before the youngest son can return home. With Brando retired, Pacino takes over and sets up operations in Nevada. He marries old sweetheart Diane Keaton. Brando dies and Pacino orders all of his rivals, big boss Richard Conte included, to be assassinated during the christening of Shire's baby. Now the Godfather, Pacino settles matters with Russo by having loyal Richard Castellano kill him.

Tie in with the Mario Puzo novel, Fawcett Publications' paperback edition of the book, Paramount Records' soundtrack album and "The Godfather" theme on 45 rpm discs. Have a "films of Marlon Brando" contest.

"The Godfather" is now a movie... The most talked about movie of our time! FLASHBACK: March 27, 1972
What BOXOFFICE said about...
Paramount 177 mins.

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